NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Joanna Cali and her partner, John Supino, were at the Jersey shore last July, watching as a fellow beach-goer struggled with two beach umbrellas on a windy afternoon. He finally ended up holding them both in place, one in each hand.
“There’s got to be a better way,” Cali said, so they began to brainstorm. The result was the Shade Anchor, a compact bag with pockets for everything you need at the beach. It doubles as a sand-filled anchor to stabilize your beach umbrella once you have settled down. It is made of colorful but tough material and works with any standard umbrella.
After developing and testing prototypes, Cali and Supino gave away samples on the beach and asked for feedback. Finally, they took it to a manufacturer and it is now on the market, being sold at retail stores and on websites.
Cali has lived in North Salem for 15 years. She was an English major in college and has worked in Internet marketing for many years. Design and manufacture was a new – and challenging – field for her. Her official title is Vice President of Marketing for Buoy Beach LLC.
One of the highlights of the new endeavor was an appearance on QVC, the home shopping network. This involved two-fold training. The first component was a “vendor training” session, where she learned how to talk about the product itself. The second part was “guest training,” where you learned the ins and outs of making a television appearance. Many vendors hire a professional at that point but Cali decided to do the 5-1/2 minute segment herself.
“It was a lot of fun but a little stressful, too. I’ve never met a nicer bunch of people, though,” she said. “The QVC campus is huge. I went out and bought new shoes for the day, but it turned out that it’s a sneakers kind of place.”